On COVID-19 vaccines, India says it's engaged with entities in US for procurement, subsequent manufacturing

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Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi speaking at his daily briefing on Thursday. (Photo/ANI)
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi speaking at his daily briefing on Thursday. (Photo/ANI)

By Naveen Kapoor

New Delhi [India], May 20 (ANI): After US president Joe Biden announced the decision to distribute 80 million vaccines to countries in need, India said it is engaged with entities in the US for procurement and the subsequent manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines.

Speaking to reporters in his weekly press conference, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "We remain engaged with US entities on prospects of procuring vaccines from US and perhaps also manufacturing them in India subsequently, this would augment our vaccine availability once this through procurement or subsequent manufacturing."

The US will be distributing 80 million vaccines, which includes 60 million Astra Zeneca and 20 million Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. However, the US has not yet announced how much is it going to allocate to India and other countries.

MEA said, "We noted the recent announcement by US government of its intention to make vaccines available to other countries however we don't have any information on this to share."

"I would like to emphasize that all vaccines may be procured from abroad need to be as per our regulatory guidelines, I also understand that the US has also stated that any vaccine it sends abroad will only be after obtaining FDA clearance for product quality" MEA spokesperson added.

The United States has been at the forefront of helping India in countering the deadly second wave and had already has sent tons of equipment like big oxygen generators, concentrators, Remdesivir injections and also the raw material for India's vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute.

US has also backed the TRIPS waiver proposal sponsored by India and South Africa at the WTO. This once approved will liberalize patenting and strengthen vaccine manufacturing in India and other countries.

India, despite Covid cases plateauing, is reporting more than two lakh cases a day and 4,000 plus deaths. It is facing a shortage of vaccines and New Delhi will be hoping to get a large share of the pie that will be distributed by the US and huge diplomatic efforts are underway in this regard. (ANI)

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